For Starters

It’s always fun to guess what the New Year is going to bring. Around the parts washer we have the distinct advantage (well sometimes) to know what events are coming and where we will be on most weekends throughout the coming year. We are aware of tech stories that are taking shape but the fun part is always what’s on the project car front.

For starters, the new Road Tour car for 2012 will be the Bob Drake Reproductions ’40 Ford. Yep, every bit of sheetmetal is brand new, making this the latest addition to steel recreations of time-honored hot rod tin. Take a closer look at this issue and it will reveal the first in-depth photos of this latest addition to the rodder’s wish list. We are talking about body, fenders, running boards, hood, decklid, grille, floorpan, firewall, dashboard, glovebox, gauge panel, and a myriad of interior trim pieces. The list is nearly endless but having all of this material is a winner.

This should prove to be one of the most intriguing cars we have ever built at the magazine. It will be based on a Fatman chassis, a Ford Racing Coyote engine, all wrapped within PPG paint. Keep on the lookout for stories as they develop at Hollywood Hot Rods, as Troy Ladd oversees our project.

Another car that should be seen more and more during the coming year of Street Rodder will be the old man of the staff, Ron Ceridono’s Project RamRodder. His ’50 Plymouth, complete with a blown 392 Hemi, should keep his adrenalin at a high level. Of course, waking up in the morning comes as such a surprise to ol’ Ronnie that he’s used to adrenalin rushes!

The Hemi has its power ushered through a Gearstar 4L80E, eventually ending up at the rear. Ron says the Mopar will be painted in bright orange, much like an aerial target the Air Force might shoot at. Speaking of going fast, Ron figures he will be running Coker Launchers (multi-spoke) front wheels wrapped with Pro-Tracs with a Speedway straight-axle holding them apart. The rear are Injectors with Coker Firestone street-legal drag slicks will be held apart via the Currie 9-inch and Art Morrison ladder bars. Inside there will be numerous gauges, with magnifiers on the lenses since Ron can’t see either, while the tin interior will feature Speedway bomber-style buckets.

Stay tuned and let’s see where Ron ends up.

Then there is my latest project. I have been bitten by the Tri-Five Chevy bug. My parents had purchased a new ’56 from Felix Chevrolet in downtown Los Angeles. Back in the day that car got me through high school and well through college. I always wanted to make a gasser out of it but time, talent, and money were working against me. Hmm, doesn’t appear much has changed.

Well, I’m getting my chance. One Saturday afternoon artist Steve Stanford and I were talking about our days in high school and the gasser Tri-Fives that were built back then. He and I were on the same page and within a matter of days, yes days, he came up with the artwork you see on this page: Project Totally Gassed.

Both of us remember the really cool kids would use early Corvette grille inserts and mount a Moon tank on the spreader bar. The car had to have Cragar S/S wheels with square-edged cheater slicks, like the Coker pie-crust models. There had to be a tach mounted to the dash and three gauges mounted to the bottom side of the dash as well. In my case we asked Classic Instruments if they would make up the required gauges but also throw in three more that would be firewall mounted. Couldn’t resist, all the go-fast boys had that at Lions Drag Strip—affectionately called The Beach.

I have rounded up a ’55 post-car from Woody’s Hot Rodz (Real Deal Steel body) and one of their lifted A-arm chassis. It will run a small-block 327 that will be outfitted to look like a Z/28 302-inch motor complete with the staggered dual fours. Only in this case I managed to find an old Offenhauser 360-degree cross-ram with removable plenum (just like the factory unit) and have it outfitted with FAST EZ-EFI in a dual-throttle body configuration. Firing the fuel and exiting the spent gases will be the chore of PerTronix equipment with a set of Doug’s fenderwell exit headers—did you think it would be anything else? The power will have to work its way through a Tremec five-speed on its way to a Currie 9-inch rearend equipped with a liberal dose of gearing.

As for the color there were several ways we could have gone but I always remembered a gold Tri-Five from my high school days so that’s what it has to be. Not sure if it will be the famous Pagan Gold but something along those lines. Of course, the interior will be business class black done in a Tony Nancy–style 2-inch stitched squares on the seating, door panels, and, of course, the rear package tray. Again, all the cool kids had the package tray upholstered. The rear seating will be a stock bench but the fronts, well that’s another story. I have a passion for ’63-65 Chevy Impala bucket seats with the large chrome trim over the top and sides. A similar seat was also used in the ’62 Pontiac Grand Prix and also on one of the Cutlass models.

Well, that’s enough for now. Stay tuned as we bring lots of car building to the Street Rodder family over the coming year.

By the way, as I write this editorial, George Poteet from Memphis, Tennessee, just ran an exit speed of 462 mph with his streamliner Speed Demon; broke U-joints and couldn’t back it up while running at the FIA event held at Bonneville during the month of September. It can’t be that long before 500 mph.